WikiSedaya: mentoring program for Wikipedia’s beginner users
WikiSedaya is our new retention program for former participants of WikiLatih and Wikipedia contributors who were still considered “new”. If they had only been involved in one or two of our activities before, they could join this program.
The duration of the program was two months. WikiSedaya format was similar to a mentoring program, where five participants were gathered in a small group with an experienced contributor assigned as the mentor of the group. The participants and the mentor communicated via WhatsApp Group, where participants could ask any questions related or unrelated to Wikipedia. There were several mini meetups within WikiSedaya for participants to check in with each other or ask more elaborate questions. The participants may take on some optional tasks, such as article cleanup, adding links, or improving and writing an article for extra rewards.
We held this program in order to create a sense of togetherness and belonging that had been missing since we started doing events online. We organized twice batch of WikiSedaya. In the first WikiSedaya, there were 23 participants, divided into four groups. We utilized the maintenance category in the Indonesian Wikipedia as a list of articles that participants could edit. There were 17 of 23 participants who edit articles.
In the second WikiSedaya, we downscaled the number of participants into 13 people, divided into two groups. We used the Welcoming Newcomer feature from The Growth Team of Wikimedia Foundation since it had been deployed on Indonesian Wikipedia at that time. That feature helped participants to find articles that needed to be improved. There were 10 of 13 participants who edited articles.
We presume the mentor's ability to inspire is one of the deciding factors for participants to continue their edits. In the first and second WikiSedaya, there is a group in which nearly all participants edit till the end. These two groups are mentored by the same person. Another deciding factor is the motivation that comes within the participants themselves, because even though we offered interesting rewards for those who completed some tasks, there were only very few of them who were consistent enough in doing the assignments.
We thought that the purpose of the program was great but the implementation still needed some improvements. We decided not to continue this program until we managed to find a better format to carry it out again. Apart from that, it was difficult for us to find competent mentors for the program.
One year into the COVID pandemic, where we were forced to do everything online had given us a new experience of organizing Education activities. There were many things that we were happy about, such as the ability to reach more people from various different places since the activities were done online, but there were also many things that we still needed to evaluate such as our inability to do personal approach especially when it comes to securing collaborations with partners. The stories of our ups and downs can be read in our narratives below.
Temu Daring (Online Meet-up)Edit
“Proyek Wiki seperti WikiLatih dan Temu Daring adalah sebuah kegiatan yang sangat tepat di masa pandemi. Perlu diperhatikan waktu pelaksanaan. Ketika pelaksanaan di jam kerja maka sangat banyak kendala. Namun, usulan bisa di jam 19.00 keatas menurut saya sangat ideal, peserta bisa ikut dengan baik.”
Wiki projects like WikiLatih and online meetup were very appropriate activities during the pandemic. Please note the implementation time. When the time was during the working hours, there were many obstacles. However, I thought at 19.00 or above was very ideal, participants could participate well.
|—Yasanto Lase, Nias Wikipedian contributor.
Online Meet-up is one of our must-do programs, since it has become a way for our contributors and volunteers to connect with each other especially during this difficult time. Our online meetup consisted of a series of online meet-up activities, usually attended by around 20 people. We tried our best to organize these activities monthly or bi-monthly.
The regular meet-ups that we organized to gather the contributors from around Indonesia. We usually focused the Wikipedia editing activities around a particular topic, for example a look back into 2020, pop culture, provinces in Indonesia, etc. The meet-ups that were organized by the communities usually only centered around the members of the community itself, therefore not many of them attended. However, in this kind of meetup, the participants usually felt more engaged, because it was more focused on the people in the community who had previously known each other in person.
We also had some “special” meet-up sessions this year. We had some sessions back in September and October 2020, where we tried to edit on Indonesian Wikibooks, this was a new experience for some of the participants. We also had a special meet-up which was a part of our Wiki Women’s Month in March 2021. Even though not all the participants were women, we did edit articles about women on Wikipedia. The last special meet-up that we had was in June 2021, we did a collaboration with Whindanger (Wiki World Heritage in Danger) in which we edit articles about the endangered sites of Sumatran Rainforest. The participants did not join from a registration but an invitation. They were excited to get invited to join this activity.
Online meet-up sessions have allowed us to reach more contributors from different parts of Indonesia. Usually we had 10-15 people attend the event. If we were fortunate enough, more people would join until there were like 20-25 at most. It is more effective in reaching out more contributors rather than doing our usual offline meet-ups that usually only centered around a particular community. We liked to imagine if we can implement this program with two of these formats, to reach out to more contributors. It would be amazing once we are safe enough to get back to offline activities.
However, until the present time, the same issue still exists. We still have not been able to find a better format to organize this online meet-up so that it can be more enjoyable for the participants. We figured that this had been a very challenging issue for us to overcome. Even so, we decided that we would still continue the program since this has become a way to unite our contributors from different places.
Last year, we designed several formats that we tried out for WikiLatih. These formats also underwent adjustments for the sake of the participants’ convenience.
For Online courses, we used Google Classroom to organize all the materials and assignment submissions. We offered certificates for participants who met the requirements of course completion. From July 2020-June 2021, we organized six online courses. Since the fourth online course, we implemented various changes, such as extending the duration of courses, decreasing minimum edits, adding the list of articles that participants could write, and simplifying assignments. Since the sixth online course, more changes applied, such as increasing participants’ numbers and integrating Welcoming Newcomer features into the courses.
The average completion rate between courses is 47,32%, ranging from only 13% of participants who finished the course in the First WikiLatih to nearly all participants who completed their course in the Second WikiLatih. From the Third WikiLatih onwards, the completion rate was relatively consistent and not affected by our changes.
Half of the participants often dropped out of the courses. Participants felt overwhelmed with the amount of the tasks they had to finish, combined with their personal business, in the middle of our courses. Participant candidates were asked if they are on a tight schedule or not in the next WikiLatih. This way, they must commit to complete the course.
Since we evaluated the retention of participants in the first half-semester, there were improvements in that area. Many WikiLatih participants became involved in our communities. Some of them also joined our other programs, e.g., online meet-ups or WikiSedaya. Even one of the participants had an internship in our team.
Advanced WikiLatih is training for source editing, templates, etc., on Indonesian Wikipedia for former WikiLatih participants. We organized this event bi-monthly and lasted for 2 hours.
There were five Advanced WikiLatih held throughout July 2020-June 2021. We found that utilizing a private sandbox is the most effective way to demonstrate and practice source editing since it enabled the participants to explore a lot of wikitext code without harming the article. Most of the topics covered in this event needed to be practiced by participants, so the tutors must understand wikitext and how the templates worked. So far, we had some difficulty finding suitable tutors who were experienced enough to deliver the materials. However, since this event is organized bi-monthly, we had some time to decide on the tutors.
We would continue this WikiLatih in the next year's program since it actually attracted many participants that had been involved in our basic WikiLatih. Many of these participants often got curious and wanted to know how to insert pictures, infobox, or tags to articles. We always recommended them to join the Advanced WikiLatih to know more about them.
“WikiLatih membantu saya mempelajari dan memahami cara kerja Wikipedia dan proyek-proyek Wikimedia lainnya. Selain itu, model pelatihan WikiLatih yang
dilakukan secara intens turut membantu saya agar lebih terampil menulis dan menyunting artikel di Wikipedia dengan penuh kepercayaan diri. Saya merasa
beruntung mendapat kesempatan untuk mempelajari Wikipedia melalui program WikiLatih.”
WikiLatih helped me to learn and understand how Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects work. Also, the intense training model of WikiLatih helped me to be more skilled at writing and editing articles on Wikipedia with full confidence. I felt lucky to have the opportunity to learn Wikipedia through the WikiLatih program.
|—Dian Agustin, Indonesia Wikipedian contributor.
Advanced WikiLatih is targeted to contributors who finished previous WikiLatih or used to write an article in Wikipedia using Visual Editor but still not familiar with the advanced skills, e.g., source editing, templates, and image galleries. This WikiLatih lasted for 2 hours and was emphasized in practice. The participants would be guided to insert templates and editing in wikitext.
When we organized Advanced WikiLatih three times, we realized that not all of our volunteers have online presentation skills as good as offline presentations. Some of the tutors don’t know how to engage participants to be more active in online activities. As a result, the participants feel if the training was mundane and not all of the training materials can be delivered. However, when the tutors know how to give online presentations and courses, the participants can be more active in discussions and practices.
Mini WikiPelatih (Training of Trainers)Edit
Mini WikiPelatih is similar to WikiPelatih in general (which used to be held offline), but we made the training material easier to deliver within four hours using a teleconference platform. This Training of Trainers covers presentation skills, administrative procedures within Wikimedia Indonesia, and information of other Wikimedia Indonesia's programs, e.g., GLAM and Community Development. They were also given an opportunity to demonstrate their public speaking ability. The participants of this event were limited to representatives of small Wikimedia communities, i.e., Buginese, Gorontalo, Banjar, Batak Toba, Nias, Mandailing, and Madurese communities.
Overall, the participants felt the training was helpful for their capacity building and understood many administrative procedures. However, we still had difficulty in measuring the participants’ improvements after the training because of the limited number of training activities involving local language communities in the second semester.
This program would definitely become one of the programs that we will continue to do. We intend to have some adjustments especially in the way we would organize the program, for the session, the materials, the attendants and obviously the presenters.
In first semester, we did release the (General version and Educator version) of WikiGuidebook. Not only that, we also created a short video version of the Guidebook. In this year’s program, we have translated the Guidebook into 8 languages. The version that was translated to the 4 local languages was only the Educator version. We involved two community members from each language to translate the Guidebook. One person did the translation and another one did the proofreading process to ensure the quality of the translation.
These first 4 local languages to have the printed version of the Guidebooks were Minangkabau, Sundanese, Javanese, and Balinese. Each variant was printed out for 100 copies. Half of the copies were given out to the regional community (Padang, Bali, and Yogyakarta), while half were saved in our office in Jakarta. We usually give them out as a small prize for the people who are lucky enough to win them at our events, or we give them to the institutions/organizations that we reach out to for collaborations.
After translating into Minangkabau, Sundanese, Javanese, and Balinese, we added 4 more local languages to the collection. These languages are Banjarese, Gorontalo, Madurese, and Nias. We have had the translated documents but we still need to review them before we print them out. The reviewing activities will be done in APG21.
In the second semester of this year’s project we decided to open an internship recruitment, not only to help us with Education activities, but also to be an addition as one of our community members, as well as one of our volunteers. The internship lasted for 3 months. We had many applicants coming in, but we only had to select one. The intern that joined us for the last 3 months of this year’s project was an alumni of the second batch of our Online Course. She performed really well during our Online Course which became one of our considerations of recruiting her.
During the internship period, the intern was involved in various Education activities. In the beginning, she was given a list of tasks that we expected her to complete before the end of her internship period. She was mainly in charge of the WikiGuidebook translation project from March-June. While completing this project, she was also helping us with other activities as well, such as our Online Meet-ups, and our Wikipedia editing training activities, our online talk show, and online Wiki Goes to School.
She also happened to have some graphic design skills, so she was also in charge of our Instagram page. Every few days, she uploaded a new post that she designed herself to our page. She also helped us make several designs that we needed for our activities, such as Zoom backgrounds, event posters, even brochures. She also wrote some articles of her experience during the first few days of being an intern in Wikimedia Indonesia, as well as articles about some of the Education activities we have done on our blog, wikimedia.or.id. She was also involved in some community activities. She attended some community monthly meetings to meet our community members. We supervised the tasks that she had done every week, and we never had any complaints.
At the end of her internship period, not only did she manage to complete all her tasks, but she even did more activities. She made a report of the activities and projects she completed during her internship period. From her report, we could at least have a picture in mind of what we would expect from our next interns.
Internship has been proven as a useful way for the Education Team to attract more people to get involved more in Wikimedia Indonesia’s activities from the inside. So far, six out of nine interns that have ever joined Wikimedia Indonesia are still actively being involved in Wikimedia Indonesia’s activities. Therefore, we have decided that we will continue opening internship opportunities in the next year’s program.
Online Talk Show - Education TopicsEdit
Online talk show was one of the routine activities that we participated in. The talk show is usually broadcasted online, live, on YouTube every Friday at 07.00-08.00 p.m UTC+7. The recordings were then archived in Wikimedia Indonesia’s Youtube Channel.
The first time we started the online activities, the online talk show was one project that we initiated to increase our engagement via YouTube. Not only that, but we also wanted to be able to provide our volunteers with a different kind of program which would give them valuable information that they could enjoy. Apart from that, the online talk show would be the place for us to invite contributors, volunteers, community members, and partners to share their projects, ideas, insights, or their contribution stories in Wikimedia projects. This program also allows the audiences to drop some questions that the speakers will answer at the end of the show. In this year’s project, the Education Team had invited some speakers to share their stories through this program.
The very first guest we invited was our senior contributor, who talked about the collaboration he had with the Indonesian Air Force. The second guest was also a senior contributor, the founder of Indonesian and Javanese Wikipedia, who talked about his experience of founding these two Wiki’s, mainly the Indonesian Wikipedia, as well as the GLAM project he was involved in — translating Ki Hadjar Dewantara’s letters from Dutch to Indonesian. In the third Education talk show, we had two guests who are the admins on Indonesian Wikipedia. They talked about digital security, especially when it comes to editing Wikipedia. The last Education talk show this year was about Wikipedia in Education, where we invited a teacher who was also a Wikipedia contributor. He talked about his experience as a teacher who edited Wikipedia, and how Wikipedia could be used in a classroom.
Not only on YouTube, but we also had a live Instagram session with the Swedish Embassy in Jakarta. This Instagram live session was a part of our WikiGap events. We thought it would be more fun if WikiGap was not only about writing or editing articles on Wikipedia, but also about educating people out there about women’s issues. We invited Eva Mariani|Eva Mariani, a journalist, where we talked about issues related to women’s representations.
The last live session we held was about the Welcoming Newcomers feature, where we talked about the new feature that was newly deployed in Indonesian Wikipedia, what the purpose was, how to activate the feature, and how to properly use it.
We still have some interesting ideas for next year’s online talk show. We will definitely get involved more.
Lesson learned & Next StepsEdit
Some of the things that we learned from this year’s program were:
- Changes are needed but they are not always easy
We learned that doing online activities as opposed to offline activities was not always bad. We had the opportunity to reach more people who were in different places, and tried out different program formats. However, we lost our chance to do personal engagement with partners and collaborators. Oftentimes, online meetings did not feel like a good way to strengthen bonds in building collaborations. Small talks felt more like a way to make the situation less awkward than as genuine conversations.
- Apology and gratitude are both powerful tools of communication
During this difficult time, everyone has their own every-day struggles. Therefore we realized that giving rewards to our community volunteers who had spent their precious time to get involved in helping us organize our events was very much needed. Appreciation of their time and energy spent to communicate with us to make the program work was a good gesture in strengthening our bonds with them, since we could not greet them directly in person. Miscommunication often happened, and communicating got difficult sometimes, therefore, “sorry” and “thank you” had become a great way to show that it was not only about us, but it was about them too, we recognized, and we appreciated.
- Getting more new people to get involved in our activities/events is really important
We realized that getting more people involved, by introducing them first and educating them about Wiki projects is really important for the sustainability of the movement. That is why, we would like to continue doing our activities that have the potential to attract and engage more people to get involved with us. Things like giving rewards or prizes work as well. Programs like WikiLatih and online talk shows have been proven to be a good way to introduce our movement to new people. While Temu Daring is good to strengthen the bonds between contributors/volunteers. Internship is also expected to gain more reliable and experienced community volunteers.